One million hours of video is transmitted all over the world every minute. One of the main contributors to this huge number is Netflix, for which you require 25 Mbps of download speed to stream ultra-high definition content. With increased use of cloud based services and more and more devices (speakers, lamps, thermostats, etc.) being connected to the Internet besides an already increasing number of tablets, phones and laptops, we are approaching the limit of the bandwidth our internet service providers can provide us with, with electrical telecommunication technology.
The deployment of Fiber-To-The-Home (FTTH) could provide an unparalleled amount of bandwidth to every subscriber and is hence an ideal future-proof solution. For enabling this, millions of optical fiber connections need to be made at a low cost however. Current solutions include splicing and using so-called factory-terminated patch cords. Splicing requires a very high-level of skill and expensive, difficult-to-use equipment. Factory-terminated patch cords are easier to use but don’t allow for the optical fiber to be terminated (at length) in the field. To enable cheaper FTTH deployment, the world is hence ready for an easy-to-use, low-cost and field-installable connector solution.
In his research, Evert pushed the limits of the Deep Proton Writing micro-fabrication technology, which was developed over the past 20 years at B-Phot. Having advanced this technology, Evert used it to develop, prototype and prove the concept of the so-called ‘self-centering alignment structure’ after which he investigated the low-cost replication of the developed micro-components. He proved that connectors based on the self-centering alignment structure could fundamentally outperform current state-of-the-art optical telecom fiber connectors.
After proving the concept of the developed ‘self-centering alignment’ technology, he used this technology to contribute to the development of a commercial ferrule less connector solution for optical telecom fiber in the framework of a European project called VECTOR (http://www.vectorfp7.eu/ ). The project resulted in the successful creation of a field-installable connector solution capable of vastly outperforming any state-of-the-art field-installable connector.
With his research, Evert has hence brought FTTH deployment one step closer to reality for your broadband Internet connection.
For the very first time, a PhD thesis at B-PHOT VUB was co-promoted by a very appreciated industrial partner in the person of dr. ir. Jan Watté (Commscope) underlining the close collaborations of B-PHOT with companies that focus on innovation with photonics